CSSF Students Named Finalists in
Second Annual Discovery Young Scientist Challenge

Nation's Brightest Young Scientists to Gather at Smithsonian Institution and Compete in Ambitious Science Challenges in Quest for Scholarship Monies and Other Special Prizes

BETHESDA, MD (September 18, 2000) - Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI), in partnership with Science Service, announced today the forty (40) Finalists in the second annual Discovery Young Scientist Challenge (DYSC). The DYSC is a national science contest for middle school students established to encourage the exploration, understanding and communication of science among America's youth. The 40 Finalists will compete for $40,000 in scholarship monies and other prizes, with the top winner claiming a $10,000 scholarship.

Two nominees from the California State Science Fair were among those selected by DYSC as Finalists. They are:

Jessie Atterholt Hesperia
Marisa Ingrum Northridge

The Finalists represent 23 states, with the highest numbers from Florida and Hawaii. Twenty-five of the Finalists are girls; 15 are boys. The Finalists were selected from among 400 Semifinalists, who were announced on September 5. The initial 1,623 DYSC entrants were fifth through eighth grade students who qualified for the DYSC through their participation in a Science Service-affiliated regional or state science fair.

The Finalists' projects cover a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including biochemistry and microbiology, as well as behavioral, environmental and social sciences. Their topics range from exploring whether fruit enzymes can control garden snails to evaluating whether turmeric powder can help arthritis sufferers to searching for new, natural forms of antibiotics.

"These 40 students have displayed remarkable intelligence and creativity in their science projects and are, without question, among the nation's best and brightest young scientists," said Judith A. McHale, president and chief operating officer of DCI. "By nurturing their enthusiasm for science, and stressing their ability to communicate effectively, the next generation of American scientists are charter members of this stunning era of discovery."

The DYSC targets middle school students, a group that typically performs well in science but does not have many opportunities to compete in science competitions on a national level. By targeting these students, the DYSC reaches a group at a critical age when, according to recent studies, their interest in science and math starts to decline. A primary goal of the DYSC is to encourage these students' interest in science and math while their interest is still active and on the rise, and carry their interest over to high school, where more opportunities to nurture their science talents typically exist.

The 40 Finalists are invited to travel to Washington, DC, all expenses paid, October 21-26, 2000, to compete in science challenges at two Smithsonian Institution museums. Challenges will take place at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. For three days, student teams will be assigned different challenges, each of which will concentrate on a different discipline of science. Students will be judged on their individual communication skills, leadership skills and problem-solving abilities while working on the challenges. In addition, students will be judged on oral presentations of the projects that won each student a nomination to the DYSC. While in Washington, the Finalists will also be treated to a number of exciting activities, including behind-the-scenes tours of the Smithsonian Institution, tours of the City, and meetings with leading Smithsonian scientists.

"We want to use the DYSC as a means to remind young children that science can be 'cool,'" stated Ann Korando, director of development and public relations at Science Service. "So many children lose interest in science at a young age, but these 5th-8th graders put the inspiration and the fascination back into the subject."

On Thursday, October 26, 2000, DCI will announce the winners and award a $10,000 scholarship for first place, a $5,000 scholarship for second place, and a $3,000 scholarship for third place. Additional discretionary prizes, based on the students' projects and their performance during the science challenges, will be announced at a later date.

Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI) is the leading global real-world media and entertainment company. DCI has grown from its core property, the Discovery Channel, first launched in the United States in 1985, to current global operations in 150 countries with 180 million total subscribers. DCI's programming is tailored to the specific needs of viewers around the globe, and distributed through 69 separate feeds in 32 languages. DCI's networks encompass 14 entertainment brands including TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids, and a family of digital channels. DCI's other properties consist of Discovery.com and 165 Discovery Channel retail stores. DCI also distributes BBC America in the United States.

Science Service Inc., founded in 1921, is one of the most respected non-profit organizations advancing the cause of science. Based in Washington, D.C., Science Service seeks to keep the public abreast of the latest in science information and technology. As publishers of Science News, and administrators of the Intel Science Talent Search - the "Nobel Prize" of high school science - and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Science Service encourages students, parents, teachers and communities to explore the vast world of science. For information about Science Service, please visit its Web site.

The National Museum of Natural History is the world's most visited museum and expects to welcome more than 9 million people during the year 2000. Opened in 1910, the green-domed museum on the National Mall was the first Smithsonian building constructed exclusively to house collections, and the curators and scientists who conserve and study them. It remains the largest of the Smithsonian Institution's bureaus, which encompass the National Zoo and 16 museums and galleries in Washington and New York.

The National Museum of American History traces American heritage through exhibitions of social, cultural, scientific and technological history. Collections are displayed in settings that recapture and interpret the American experience from Colonial times to the present.

For more information about the Discovery Young Scientist Challenge, including a complete listing of the names of the 40 finalists, their school, state and project title, please visit the DYSC website.

(Categorized Alphabetically by State)

Name Grade Hometown Title of Project
Jessica Christianson 8 Birmingham, AL "Where Do You Stand? An Analysis of Line Behavior at ATMs"
Rachel Charles 8 Tucson, AZ "Pasteurizing Water for the Third World"
Mariam Shaikh 8 Little Rock, AR "How Long Does an Herbicide Remain in Soil?"
Jessie Atterholt 7 Hesperia, CA "A Taphonomic Study of the Pacific Summits Site, Victorville, California"
Marisa Ingrum 8 Northridge, CA "Decomposition Derby: How Do Redworms and Pill Bugs Compare in Affecting the Rate of Decomposition?"
Alyssa Languth 8 Danielson, CT "The Physio-Ecology of the Hemigrapsus sanguineus in the Rocky Intertidal Zones of Long Island Sound"
Kristen White 8 Brooklyn, CT "The Physio-Ecology of the Hemigrapsus sanguineus in the Rocky Intertidal Zones of Long Island Sound"
Vaishali Grover 7 Miami, FL "Snail Trails: Can Fruit Enzymes Be Used to Control Garden Snails?"
Caitlin Kenny 7 Southwest Ranches, FL "Developing a New Classification System for Fresh Water Macroinvertebraes"
Shana Matthews 8 Palm Bay, FL "An Investigation of the Factors Affecting Colony Transformation Efficiency Rates"
Elizabeth McQueen 8 Pensacola, FL "Casting Off with Squirmy Vermi"
William Muroski, III 7 St. Cloud, FL "The Effect of Spider Silk on the Growth of Serratia marcesens"
Lindsey Sisco 7 Cooper City, FL "The Effect of Littoral Shelf Planting on the Eutrophication of Fresh Water Lakes"
Victoria Clark 8 Waycross, GA "Age-Related Macular Degeneration and the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Test"
Laura Despres 7 Warner Robins, GA "Oxygen Consumption During the Metamorphic Stages of the Mealworm"
Vincent Ling 7 Alpharetta, GA "The Effect of Sand Grain Size on the Durability of Concrete"
Jonathan-James Eno 8 Kahului, HI "Phytoremediation of Hydrocarbon Contaminated Soil"
Whitney Nekoba 8 Kurtistown, HI "Sex Ratios of the Pacific Golden-Plover Occupying Lawn Habitat of O'ahu and the Big Island"
William Thomas 6 Kanehoe, HI "Seaweed Wars I And II"
Kolea Zimmerman 8 Volcano, HI "Mycoprospecting In Hawaii: A Search for Antibiotics in Xylariaceae"
Matthew Drake 5 Fairview Heights, IL "Geotropism: The Effects of Centrifugal Force on Plant Growth"
Tiffany Ko 6 Terre Haute, IN "The Sky Is the Limit: How Far Can You Fly?"
Bradley Jones 8 Olathe, KS "An Investigation of the Effect of Herbal Green Tea on Irradiated White Onions"
David Meigooni 8 Lexington, KY "The Effect of Curcumin as a Sensitizer of Radiation on Human Cancer Cells"
Rebecca Totten 7 Abita Springs, LA "How Does the Size of Three Ossicular Bones Affect Human Hearing?"
Rachel Allen 8 Cataumet, MA "The Effect of pH and Phosphates on the Surface Tension of Fresh Water Ponds"
Sarah Brownlee 8 Prince Frederick, MD "Getting the Dirt on Sediments"
Kilty McGowan 8 St. Paul, MN "Meal Composition and Carbohydrate Counting: A Single Case Study of Blood Glucose Levels and Insulin Requirements"
Ryan Rick 7 St. Louis, MO "Amaze Yourself with Optical Illusions"
Gregory Amend 8 Manhasset, NY "Brine Shrimp and the Bioconversion of Nitrates and Nitrites from the East River"
Matthew Peneston 8 Pennellville, NY "A Novel Device for Extracting Soft Sediment from a Bog"
Nadia Shaikh 8 Lawrence, NY "The Effects of Different Garlic Extracts on Bacteria"
Amanda Kovach 8 Shaker Heights, OH "The Effect of a Restriction Enzyme and DNA Ligase on the Expression of a Reporter Gene"
Alyssa Hapgood 7 Edmond, OK "A Better 'Weigh' for Horses"
Neal Amin 8 Lansdale, PA "Curry for Cure: Does Turmeric Powder Have the Power to Help Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferers?"
Sylvie Bushwick 8 York, PA "Does a Magnetic Field Affect the Growth of Bacteria?"
Mazell Tetruashvily 8 Philadelphia, PA "Comparative Analysis of Bacterial Levels in Cooked Shrimp"
Shaleen Cholera 7 Memphis, TN "A Fungal Extract for Natural Antibiotic Activity Against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus"
Charles Clute 5 Nashville, TN "Do Atoms Sing? How to Test Chemicals for a Unique 'Voice' or 'Sonic Fingerprint'"
Madison Jones 8 Dallas, TX "Problem Poultry II: Controlling Bacterial Contamination in Poultry Products"

California State Science Fair / 2000 / DYSC Finalists / CalifSF@usc.edu